Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says the Silver Arrows outfit was forced into "damage limitation" mode in Sunday's Austrian Grand Prix by engine overheating issues.
For the first time this season, the German squad failed to prevail on a Sunday, with Valtteri Bottas concluding his afternoon third and Lewis Hamilton coming home a lowly fifth in Spielberg.
Neither drivers were ever really in contention for an outright win at the Red Bull Ring, their race pace surpassed in Austria by Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc.
"That was really painful for us, damage limitation today," said Wolff after Mercedes' first defeat of 2019.
"We knew that we had a real cooling issue on our car and it was worse than expected.
"We knew that it was our Achilles Heel and we were carrying the problem since the beginning of the season.
"We tried to work on mitigating the performance loss. But at the end it was really painful to watch them cruising, not being able to defend or attack.
"We were running the engine way turned down, lifting and coasting for up the 400 metres, I mean it’s almost having no throttle rolling downwards, and still able to pull in some decent lap times.
"So I think we would have a go, we would have a chance to fight for the win, but we were limited by the cooling problems and."
Bottas confirmed that overheating had been a concern all afternoon for Mercedes, although the Finn viewed the W10's pace as fairly close to that of its rivals.
"I think we made a good start of it - it was a bit more difficult than we expected especially with the overheating of the engine, we had to manage the temperature but we got some good points," said the Finn.
"We were up there on pure race pace - there were not much difference, but while managing temperatures we had to drop back."
Hamilton said that Mercedes' rivals appeared to deal more efficiently with the overheating issue, but also suggested that track layout had been a factor in his team's subdued performance.
"As far as I'm aware it wasn't a case for the Ferraris and the Red Bulls but for us it was a massive issue," said the current leader of the F1 world championship.
"I think we had a good pace today but we just couldn't race. That’s how this track is. I think it's' the limitation of our car this weekend."